Don’t scratch your name in the wall OF COURSE! – But, what do we take away with us from a visit to a museum? postcards, a book and a “selfie”. Why does this matter to a house museum site? Because what I consider important may not be the same for you. We have to allow a visitor to “FINGERPRINT” their visit in all kinds of ways. In this case, the “selfie” played a major role in the engagement of the site and artifacts. Allowing humor is another factor in “fingerprinting”. Just because we are making faces in our “selfie”, doesn’t mean that we are not appreciating the Snake-Dragon, Symbol of Marduk, the patron god of Babylon, Panel from the Ishtar Gate (604-562 BC), Babylon, Detroit Institute of Art, 2011
In some cases, “fingerprinting” may be the desire to sit quietly in a space – as here in the Jefferson designed – University of Virgina Library Rotunda building, 1826. There are several important factors exhibited in this photograph: 1. The ability to actually sit (rather than forced to stand), 2. The ability to find a private space to engage the building on my own terms, 3. A non-interpreted environment in which one can individualize the experience.
In other cases, “fingerprinting” may exist in the need to take a rest from the activities of the day. This visitor engagement should not be seen as inappropriate, in fact this should be viewed as a sign that the visitor considers the site a safe-space to relax without any worries or judgements. This photograph was taken in the rose gardens of Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, New York, house designed by Alexander Davis in 1838.
A “selfie” at Grounds for Sculpture, Trenton, New Jersey. 2014.
Several ideas of “fingerprinting” are shown in this photography; 1. You can donate toward the restoration of a house project and in exchange you can write on the house itself. In essence literally leaving your mark on the process of preservation (Heidelberg Project, Detroit Michigan, The “yellow house”), 2. the owner of the “yellow house” engages a visitor/donor on her porch and poses for a “selfie” as part of the experience. In this way the visitor leaves something and takes something away with them. 2014.
Making your mark on the “yellow house” at the Heidelberg Project, Detroit, Michigan. 2014.
It’s not hard to see why “tagging” with street art is a form of place-making as in this alley in Detroit, Michigan. 2014.
Forms of guerrilla art, such as these artist produced leaflets, also are used a means of “fingerprinting” an urban space and personalizing it. Detroit, 2014. Take a look at this link – Paris Locks
Even us museum nuts enjoy a “selfie” after a Chipstone Foundation THINK TANK. The THINK TANK was one in a series of discussions to help re-envision The Wilton House Museum. http://www.wiltonhousemuseum.org
Meadow Brook Estate, Rochester Hills , Michigan Unfortunately, after seeing the above sign (my family group and I)- walked straight to the gift shop, bought a post card, and got in our car & left. We proceeded to have a great lunch instead of a restrictive tour. All of this – after we traveled out of way to go and see this estate.